(first posted 5/14/2014) May 8th is President Truman’s birthday. Earlier this year, I wrote an article (here) chronicling the various Chrysler products President Truman owned in his lifetime and a short time later, my family and I visited the Truman Home in Independence, Missouri.
A Mr. Hyde (not of Robert Louis Stevenson fame) gave us the tour around the grounds before taking us into the house. When he pointed to the garage where Truman’s 1972 Newport is parked, I had to ask more questions and mentioned the article I’d written about the former president’s cars. Unlike the guide from my visit there in 1999, Mr. Hyde was very knowledgeable.
He stated the garage is opened during brief times of the year so the Chrysler is visible. When I asked about the condition of the Chrysler, I learned it is no longer brought outside as seen in the picture above nor it is being maintained as it had been. Rather, all fluids have been drained and it has been put on blocks.
One very interesting tidbit: Truman probably never drove this car, nor did he likely ever drive the ’69 Newport that preceded it. In 1967, President Truman fell while in the bathtub of his home. The extent of the injuries stemming from the fall is undisclosed, but Truman never spoke in public after that point nor did he ever drive again.
As an aside, if you do make ever make it to the Kansas City area, a stop here is well worth the time. The house is unchanged from the time Bess Truman died in 1982 and Truman’s hat and coat are still hanging near the staircase. The only indication of Truman having been President is the place setting of White House china on the bottom shelf of the china cabinet in the dining room. I also learned that every President from Eisenhower to Carter has been in the house, with Johnson visiting six times. Who stayed the longest? Richard Nixon, at twenty-nine minutes. He played the piano for the Trumans.